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Plot, Details & Awards

Breaking Away

PG In Theaters 04/4/2004 , 100min.
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Plot & Details

Dennis Christopher stars as a recent high school graduate in Bloomington, Indiana, who is caught with his friends -- Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern, Jackie Earle Haley -- coasting between high school and deciding what to do with the rest of their lives. The four friends are snobbishly looked down upon by the college students of the town as "cutters," since they were born in Bloomington and their parents worked in the local limestone quarries that built the university. Dennis Christopher's character Dave wants to be a champion bicycle racer and he idolizes the Italian racing team -- so much so that he speaks, thinks, and acts Italian, all to his father's (Paul Dooley) forlorn exasperation. Dave falls for a college girl (Robyn Douglass), but is ashamed to admit he is a cutter and poses as an Italian exchange student to impress her. Dave is particularly excited when his heroes -- the Italian racers -- come to town for a race. But they are even more snobbish than the college students and rely on dirty tricks to keep Dave from winning a race against them. After that ordeal, Dave throws away his false identity and convinces his friends to enter the university's "Little 500" bicycle race against the college students. This light-hearted and heartwarming tale was a surprising word-of-mouth success at the box-office and won several awards, including an Academy Award for "Best Screenplay."

Awards

Academy Awards

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1979 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Original Song Score and Its Adaptation or Adaptation Score Patrick Williams Nominated
1979 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Director Peter Yates Nominated
1979 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Original Screenplay Steve Tesich Won
1979 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Supporting Actress Barbara Barrie Nominated
1979 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Picture Peter Yates Nominated

British Academy of Film and Television Arts

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1979 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Most Promising Newcomer Dennis Christopher Won

Golden Globes

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1979 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Best Picture - Musical or Comedy Won
1979 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Best Director Peter Yates Nominated
1979 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Best Screenplay Steve Tesich Nominated
1979 Hollywood Foreign Press Association New Star of the Year - Male Dennis Christopher Nominated

British Academy of Film and Television Arts

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1979 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Most Promising Newcomer Dennis Christopher Won

Directors Guild of America

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1979 Directors Guild of America Best Director Peter Yates Nominated

National Board of Review

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1979 National Board of Review Best Supporting Actor Paul Dooley Won
1979 National Board of Review Best Picture Nominated

National Society of Film Critics

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1979 National Society of Film Critics Best Picture Won

New York Film Critics Circle

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1979 New York Film Critics Circle Best Screenplay Steve Tesich Won

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